Money: Absolutely Nothing Is Safe With Powerful Nigerians

Farouk Martins Aresa

Farouk Martins Aresa

Most countries have enough problems with crimes without creating abject poverty. Nigeria created abject poverty. Ironically, while earning an unprecedented amount of foreign income. There is no fund, allocation or loan that is safe once released into the care of these privileged individuals. Their first instinct is to embezzle it and justify their actions later. They see every fund or allocation as finders keepers depending on who got the first access.

This repulsive behavior is not limited to direct payments or local resources. Foreign Aids, goods and services have been converted to personal use. Food, medical supplies and technical personnel have been diverted to private businesses as part of the projects. Warehouses have been discovered where food relief donated to the poor have been transferred and sold in the open markets or for campaign materials as stomach infrastructure.

This level of indifference to the increasing poverty rate in a land that used to flow with milk and honey was unfathomable to those lucky enough to experience the saner climes provided when conscientious leaders were ruling. The irony is, those that enjoyed all the privileges yesterday are the perpetrators of poverty today. Apologists also contend that there is corruption in every country and it is not unique to Nigeria. Individual responsibility is excused by claiming everyone is guilty.

The desperate and greedy conspicuous minority that control most of the resources in Nigeria have soiled the reputation of most Nigerians. If we cannot bring all of them to justice, severe punishment must be administered as a deterrent to others. This is how corruption in other developing countries was brought to a minimum. It is how China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and South Korea made progress against corruption to reduce their poverty.

Yet, most Nigerians that shoulder the country are very honest and hardworking, sometimes to a fault. There is no other way you can explain why the Country has not collapsed completely. When you see poor working class Nigerians returning lost and found fortune, many wonder if they are crazy. Yet, Nigerians have demonstrated the same honest behavior inside and outside the Country attracting commendations.

People of goodwill observe how most of the working poor and the dwindling middle class labor so hard to get through every single day. Indeed, children struggling to help their parents meet the arduous task of making a living stare you in the face. You see them on the streets and dump sites in capital cities. People familiar with some of the nefarious activities of those giving the Country a bad name wonder if they are Africans.

Despite the reputation, all Nigerians are not looters, drug dealers, ritualists or dishonest. One unifying factor regardless of ethnicity, is the vagabonds-In-Power ability to loot recklessly and blame the devil, the system or what about the other guy.

The dwindling middle class and the working poor hardly get access to the unprecedented amount of foreign income and fair returns from local resources they work so hard on. They are completely or absolutely squeezed out of fair income. Some of us claim that it is the capitalist system working like most of the rich countries, otherwise we may invite the communist system which most Africans do not want.

Distribution of wealth must come after creation of wealth. Late Steven Fajemirokun warned us that you have to create wealth first since you cannot distribute poverty. This is why the wealthy are emulated and respected. Today’s leaders are not wealth creators but frail old men surrounded by cronies, Police and Army that suppress any revolt from their people. They crackdown viciously to send messages to others daring to challenge their impunity.

Reckless and ostentatious looting with impunity lacking a disabling deterrent has turned unprecedented amounts of oil income into land of abject poverty. Asian countries that have earned less with their level of corruption have almost eliminated famine and poverty. Any appreciable money Nigerians make becomes an incentive to launder it in search of greener pastures. This is how honest men and women were soiled, joining if they can’t beat them.

Obasanjo in his first coming as Head of State was broke, jailed by Abacha but came back. Audu Ogbe was the Minister of Communication in the Shagari Government. He cut electricity to his Party Headquarters, NPN for nonpayment. By the time he left to go back to his State as a Lecturer, he was a poor man that got a hearful for how stupid he was.

Professor Fabian Osuji, an honest reputable man, played along with the House Committee’s demand. He was shafted. Professor Adenike Grande ran away from money left in her Health Ministry at the end of fiscal year, to her Secretary. The Secretary absconded with the money and Grande was jailed. Unlike others, both Osuji and Grande never had a second chance to loot.

Even this Buhari, known as a fanatic with instinctual disdain for corruption later defended Abacha, claiming a man that openly hijacked the Treasury, never stole! We now know why. All these leaders metamorphosed from “angels” to chronic looters except Professors Fabian Osuji and Adenike Grande. Can an Angel survive in Nigeria?

The arguments that every country has corrupt leaders and their cronies, burst when you examine how the face of Poverty has changed since the 70s from Asia to Africa. China has been able to reduce poverty to almost nil as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have cut the rate of abject poverty to the nearest minimum. This is remarkable because these countries used to send their people to Africa in order to earn money during the most difficult period of their famine.


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